Native Advertising in Content Marketing

The persecution mania ceases to seem like nonsense against the background of aggressive banners that pop up at the slightest interaction with the Internet. We take our smartphone and open a game on the way home when we are suddenly stunned by a video advertising a pizza. We convulsively turn off the sound, we feel the gazes of the rest of the passengers on the bus. In this case, you do not want to delve into the essence of the video or order “Margarita”. It all comes down to waiting when you can click on the cross. Or a person has read an article on psychology. The pressure from the social media feed immediately hangs over them: “Relationship problems? Feeling lonely? Join the webinar!”. Few would appreciate such a blatant invasion of privacy.

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Thanks to targeting, users see relevant ads, but they are repelled by tracking algorithms. The ability to unobtrusively offer a product that meets the needs and at the same time not to frighten with espionage is the main advantage of native advertising over direct. It is one thing to hit in the forehead with a banner about bitcoins, quite another is a recommendation in a useful article from a crypto investor. It is not so annoying, it is better remembered and fights against “banner blindness”. It cannot be minimized or blocked by extensions like Adblock. And yet it also matches the characteristics of the audience. Analysts at IHS Technology found that up to 60% more interactions happen thanks to native ads than to conventional promo materials, and the effective cost per 1,000 impressions is 7 times higher. Read about the specifics of this type of marketing below.

The difference between native advertising and content marketing

Even marketers used to confuse content marketing with native advertising, but now experts understand that these are different concepts. Content marketing is a strategy aimed at attracting, warming up, retaining and improving the loyalty of the target audience through useful information in the materials. The main differences are:

  • shareware placement on the sites of your business;
  • global and long-term work aimed at increasing brand awareness;
  • ongoing process to shape customer behavior and product demand.

For example, a furniture store has created a blog where it regularly publishes renovation hacks and interior design tips. Among the relevant and meaningful information, there is an article on how to choose a bed for a nursery. It recommends brand products, uses their photos, but the reader is not annoyed. They do not feel deceived, because they receive an answer to their questions and satisfy their interest. Everyone understands that the content was created with the aim of making a profit in one way or another, so they are ready to forgive advertising or, if they wish, to skip it. At the same time, according to the Content Marketing Institute, this way a business gets three times more leads than from paid search traffic.

Native advertising can be an active part of a content marketing strategy, which is one or more materials. You pay for it to third-party resources, which is expensive. It sells and motivates the lead to take the desired action, for example, buy a product. Motivates, but not encourages. It is placed everywhere – in articles, posts, photos or videos on social networks, games, books, magazines, speeches at conferences. At the same time, it fully adapts to the format of the site, which, in turn, must correspond to the subject matter of the product. If you want to advertise an erotic dating site on a religion channel, it will not be native advertising, even if the administrators agree.

Let us take a suitable example. A beauty blogger talks about her morning facials. In addition to the special technique of facial massage, the author describes to subscribers the magical results after using a certain mask. If you remove the ad copy about the mask, the post will still be useful, it is no different from the others on this page dedicated to the secrets of beauty. Therefore, the advertising material will not provoke aggression and may even become viral. The girls will launch a challenge with videos about their facial massage and will repost.

Such advertising is not always limited to one material. It could be a series of audio podcasts, a multi-level play, or week-long Instagram Stories where a girl talks about her experience of choosing a new apartment. Every day she just shares her thoughts and experiences and at the end buys an apartment in a particular housing complex.

One of the best examples is the commercial for a Netflix series about life in a women’s prison. They published an extremely social longread on the website of the largest media outlet, The New York Times. It highlighted research on problems in women’s prisons as well as interviews with serving girls and expert commentary. As a result, the product beat the ratings and the brand showed itself on the positive side.

Do not confuse native ads with hidden ads that disguise their true purpose. Native ads directly mention or demonstrate the value of the product: “So we shared our story of losing weight thanks to our every night’s jogging. By the way, we ran in these sneakers – they are very comfortable”. You may not even notice the hidden one. Think of product placement in movies. What kind of sneakers did his girlfriend give Forrest Gump? Nike. Of course, this is not because the director just likes this shoe brand. It is no coincidence that James Bond drinks Heineken beer. And after a short whiskey scene in Basic Instinct, Jack Daniel’s sales grew fivefold.

Read more: 5 Stages of cosmetics development

Features of native media advertising

IPG Media Labs and Sharethrough published a study showing that native ads are 50% more motivating to purchase than regular banners. Most often we see it in media articles. Such sites immediately mark that this is sponsored content and disclaim responsibility, but this does not bother people. Because they are honestly warned about the format, but the text still contains interesting information.

When choosing a platform for native advertising, a business needs to build on the portrait of the target audience and place itself where the potential consumer lives. It is not necessary to buy material only on thematic sites, the main thing is to correctly weave it into the thread of context.

At first glance, a site about fashionable clothes has nothing to do with cinema. Of course, you can just buy an advertising publication from it and ask it to mention the discounts on tickets. As a result, people expect to see an article about a dress, but they get outright advertising and disappointment. Why risk their loyalty when you can give what they came to the site for? Better to order an article on how to choose a bow for going to the cinema and at the end point to the next premieres in the cinema.

The Village published several reports where people of different professions were given a Fujifilm camera for snapshots. They took pictures and talked about their lives. The result was interesting articles that quickly became popular among readers.

Interactive content brings more excitement. For example, a trivial test: “What character would you be from “Game of Thrones?” The person will go through the text and become interested in the series.

In general, when advertising in the media, you need to build on goals, budget and audience. Do not forget to test and try new formats.

Integration of native ads into guest posts

Buying posts from bloggers is now a common practice. Businesses should be bothered to make their ads more native and look for authors who are able to implement this. Desirably with feeling. If a person sluggishly talks about yogurt, showing with all their appearance that they are getting over themselves, the readers will not feel appetite. But if the author writes a recipe for homemade yogurt and comes to the conclusion that it tastes like the advertised product, a couple of shelves will be empty in the dairy departments of the supermarket.

But, as they say, if you want to do well, do it yourself. A guest post is material posted on the blogger’s site, but not created by them. The customer writes the material, coordinates it, edits it if necessary and sends it for publication. The authorship of the “guest” must be indicated. In this case, the blog owner receives a continuous benefit:

  • they will not have to strain, but simply post the text approved by the customer and receive money;
  • readers will get acquainted with the new format of interesting content;
  • reputation among subscribers and other clients of the site will grow;
  • mutual PR if a client advertises a guest post on their resources.

The customer should not forget about the uniqueness of the material – it cannot simply be laid out somewhere else. If a brand wants to place it on its site, it must link to the blog where the post was published. It is also important to follow and respond to comments. The blogger will not do this because they simply give you the ad space.

Affiliate native ads

In order to save money and make advertising more widespread, brands use affiliate marketing services. Many different websites write about the product at the same time, attracting customers from all sides. At the same time, they are interested in the quality of materials, because they usually agree on a percentage profit from each sale of a product. With some, you can find more flexible terms.

The downside is less control and, as a result, more risk to reputation. Another pitfall – the store can be promoted so quickly and well that the warehouses will suddenly become empty and have nothing to pay the partners with. To avoid this, you need to stand firmly on your feet and arm yourself with regular accurate calculations.

Other formats

60% of native ads are articles, but do not ignore the rest of the revenue sources. We have already talked about posts in social networks, so we will also deal with other formats.

  • Reviews

Purchased praise is annoying, but on special sites it is difficult to understand which ones were paid.

  • Application

A chef simulator can advertise a specific restaurant well, and a game with an athlete-runner can advertise mineral water that the character will collect to speed up.

  • Special project

The audio series “The Message” about messages from space, which were decoded using sound technologies of General Electric, won the Webby award for a reason. An alternate reality game was also created based on it.

  • Video advertising

Before choosing a product, people often watch detailed reviews on YouTube or other platforms. The second common option is that a blogger makes content in a familiar format, for example, a humorous video, and then supposedly casually jokes about a specific product.

  • Case

They are always willingly posted, because readers are interested in reading about someone else’s experience from their professional field. The author reveals their expertise, increasing the credibility of the brand they represent.

In fact, the form of native advertising can take many more forms – it all depends on the creativity and courage of marketers.


An effective content marketing strategy and native advertising as a powerful sales tool are key to the success of any brand. It used to be a trend, but now it has become a necessity for profit. We hope this article has inspired you to come up with new ideas and helped answer your questions.